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Unity moves to acquire Weta Digital in $1.63 billion, "metaverse-shaping" deal

According to Unity, bringing Weta into the fold aims to help Weta's "incredibly exclusive and sophisticated visual effects tools" reach new artists and to "shape the future of the metaverse."

Unity is set to acquire VFX behemoth Weta Digital in a freshly revealed, $1.63 billion cash and stock deal.

Unity shared the news alongside its Q3 2021 financials today, announcing that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Weta's engineering workforce along with its "tools, pipeline, [and] technology," including dozens of tools, its interoperable 3D art creation platform, and the thousands of VFX assets in its library.

New Zealand-based Weta Digital was co-founded nearly 30 years ago by movie director Peter Jackson of The Lord of the Rings fame.

Once the ink is dry on that agreement sometime in Q4, Weta Digital and its 275 engineers will join Unity's Create Solutions segment while its VFX teams will spin out as the external company "WetaFX," owned by Jackson and expected to be Unity's largest customer.

“Weta Digital’s sophistication is represented by dozens of tools that all build on the same, unified pipeline. Alone, each tool is uniquely powerful, but as a complete platform, they represent a quantum shift in our ability to make it easy for artists to bring their imagination to life and work together like never before,” explains a statement from Unity Create SVP and GM Marc Whitten.

“We are excited to work closely with WetaFX to continue to push the edge of the art of possible with these tools and to bring them to VFX, entertainment, and eventually gaming and other artists as we evolve our pipeline for content creators.”

And as seems to be the case with so many major M&A announcements recently, the acquisition of Weta Digital aims to help propel Unity toward the looming metaverse future, with Unity adding that the deal will both help Weta's VFX tech reach "millions of creators and artists around the world, and once integrated onto the Unity platform, enable the next generation of RT3D creativity and shape the future of the metaverse."

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